Working Without a Net

27 07 2008

From an episode of West Wing (season 4):

(After Donna spends a few minutes sarcastically telling Josh how handsome and powerful he is in order to persuade him to hire a character played by Matthew Perry)

Josh: Your sense of humor’s a bit of a high wire act isn’t it? You’re really trying to thread the needle.
Donna: And half of it you don’t even get.

This is how I feel in my life a lot of the time. I like to fancy myself a funny bloke, but there are clearly times when my dry, sardonic wit is clearly lost on my audience. The example I give comes from today. I was invited by my former boss to return to MFUMC today to preach at all three Sunday morning worship services as she was returning home a mission trip to Ecuador. While my sermon was certainly not my audition for “Last Comic Standing” I did pepper in a couple of quips for the sake of keeping things interesting. We will say that I had 3 targeted ‘funny moments’ in my sermon, given three times this morning that left me the opportunity for 9 moments of mirth for my audience. At the end of the morning my tally was 3 of 9 (if you are keeping score at home that is 33%–in baseball I’d be batting .333 and that would be nice, shooting free throws in basketball I would be running laps after practice for stinking, and as a kicker in football I would be getting towel whipped in the locker room after the game). Not the most ego inflating statistics. Now I am not going to be so brash as to say that my humor was too smart for my audience (it rarely if ever is), what I am going to go with is that my sarcastic sometimes wry delivery just misses the mark. I love, LOVE, to make people laugh and I take greater joy in few other things (there are some but not lots) in my life than do bringing a smile or a laugh to someone’s countenance.

Why am I rambling on? It is just something that I have been thinking about since finishing my time in the pulpit this morning. I don’t need your empathy, I am not crestfallen, in fact I am rather at peace with my station as a comedic middleton. I aks for no pity laughs as you see me making attempts at jokes. I just ask that you find what makes you laugh in life and enjoy it.

What a random thought for a Sunday?

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7 responses

27 07 2008
Southern Fried Mom

I personally thought you were hilarious! I probably would’ve snorted in the earlier service, but since I was in “old people’s church” I thought I should behave. You did a great job…I was blessed to be there.

27 07 2008
jason

I am thinking of a line from Seinfeld but since this is a kid friendly place I will save it for later……

28 07 2008
Luke's Mom

Next time you preach (a) do it on a Sunday I’m not teaching a class, and (b) give some advance warning!

I’d love to hear you, and I have been known to laugh at things that aren’t even supposed to be funny.

28 07 2008
Stephanie

i think we should all sit down together and see exactly how much of the west wing we can collectively quote. it would probably be embarrassing.

28 07 2008
Jen

I am so sorry that I did not scream with laughter from the balcony for you!!! I knew that was my job and I fell down on it! I just got so caught up in what you were saying and how much I really needed to hear it! You really did an awesome job!

28 07 2008
jason

I think what Stephanie is trying to say is that we are all super dorks when it comes to the West Wing. I even catch myself now saying the lines before the characters have a chance to …YIKES

5 08 2008
John III

kudos on the call up to the majors and you know I think that you are freakin’ hilarious although I don’t think two Chandler’s(Friends) can critique each others attempts at humor.

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